Friday, 23 August 2013

Day 17 - A Quiet Day

What started off as a quiet day, with us playing some football and shooting with bow and arrow, turned into an adventure when we were ready to head back to Ulaanbataar.

It was nice to start the day quiet and just having some fun. Before I knew it though, it was already noon and I hardly taken any pictures. This was quite surprising since I started the day by taking my first picture before 6:00 in the morning. It was not a day focused very much on photography from the looks of it but there was still enough time on the way back and in UB.

Bert offered us a lift back to UB so we didn't have to be crammed into the microbus again, this sounded like the fastest and most convenient way to get there. Once we had our stuff together and into the car we set off.

The first part of the drive is to get from Bert's camp to Terelj village, to do this we needed to go over some dirt tracks and through three rivers. It all went well in the beginning and was fun going through the rivers in the car.

This was until we hit the third river, higher than usual due to the recent heavy rain in the area, proved to be a problem and we drifted off from the path and got stuck in the middle of the river. The car did a good job holding off the water at first but after a while water started to come in and we got wet feet.

After calling a old Soviet 4x4 truck to the rescue they towed us out and across the river to Terelj village. The car started up again and kept going, albeit with a whizzing noise, towards UB.

Since we passed by Turtle Rock in Terelj National Park, Bert stopped and allowed us to go out and take some pictures. This was very nice, especially given the trouble before and delay in getting to UB.

But as often the case with 'Doyle's Law' (25th Hour reference here), 'What can go wrong, will go wrong', the car did not start up again. The tank showed almost empty so Bert tried to get help and have someone bring some petrol. This took quite a while but we got to enjoy the sunset near Turtle Rock and if you have to be stuck with a car somewhere, a National Park is probably one of the best places.

After quite a Mongolian cars drove past, with some people laughing, Bert's friend returned with the petrol and we were on our way again. As we would find out later, the problem was most likely not the petrol but some water getting in the tank.
Driving through Terelj at dark is quite an experience as all you have are unmarked tracks through the landscape, interrupted by bits of asphalt and more roadworks without any indication of which way to go around them. The roads in and out of UB were quite busy, despite this being almost 22:00 on a Friday. It took us a while but we got back to UB and the guesthouse there after 22:15 so it meant there was not much time left for anything but having some snacks and of course some beers.

I will have a few hours sleep, before taking the 7:15 train to Beijing tomorrow morning.

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